Confirmed: Redesign makes M4 iPad Pro incompatible with older cases, keyboards, styli


M4 iPad Pro with older Apple Magic Keyboard
M4 iPad Pro absolutely does not work with previous Apple Magic Keyboard.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

A change in the location of magnets built into the M4 iPad Pro breaks compatibility with a wide array of accessories designed for earlier models. That includes many folio cases, clip-on keyboards, and styli. Many of Apple’s own previous offerings are on the incompatible list, too.

Apple had already warned of this, but Wednesday’s launch of the tablet allows real-world tests to confirm the full extent of the affect.

M4 iPad Pro won’t work with magnetic cases or keyboards

Magnets are a simple and effective way to attach accessories to iPad. It’s as easy as bringing the two devices near each other to get them to cling together. But for the trick to work, the magnets have to closely align between tablet and add-on.

With the M4 iPad Pro and accessories designed for the M2 model from 2022, the magnets don’t line up.

Apple’s latest tablet and its predecessor are close in size, though they don’t have the exact same dimensions. The 13-inch version of the new model is a millimeter taller and half a millimeter wider. Still, that’s close enough that some accessories might have been cross compatible.

But no. Size doesn’t matter because the magnets built into the M4 iPad Pro have moved.

Cult of Mac confirmed that the just-launched tablet will not magnetically attach to the Apple Magic Keyboard case designed for previous iPad Pro models. And even forcing the two to work together without magnets to line up the Smart Connector proved extremely impractical.

Apple already said this, but the company also says products are incompatible if they don’t work together 100% perfectly. We confirmed that the keyboard case doesn’t work at all.

Folio cases for earlier models also don’t magnetically cling to the new version. And they don’t automatically turn the computer off.

Based on our testing, any item that depends on magnets not specifically designed for the M4 iPad Pro is incompatible.

No support for Apple Pencil 2 or some other styli

It had already been established that Apple Pencil 2 doesn’t work with the latest iPad Pro. We confirmed that the stylus can’t pair with the tablet and is therefore completely unusable.

In addition, third-party styli like the Zagg Pro Stylus 2 designed to get power through the wireless charger built into previous Apple tablets are partially incompatible with the new model. They can’t charge or even cling well to the computer. These styli can still write on the new tablet’s screen, however.

Apple Pencil USB-C is fully compatible with the new iPad. It clings magnetically to the 2024 model as easily as it does the 2022 version. Of course, it’s designed to get power via USB-C.

Shop wisely

In short, anyone shopping for the M4 iPad Pro should also consider whether they need additional accessories as some of the ones for their older tablet are incompatible. There’s the new Magic Keyboard and Apple Pencil Pro, of course, but there are also cases, keyboards and screen protectors available from other companies.

Apple’s latest tablet reached store shelves and customers on Wednesday.  The 11-inch 2024 iPad Pro starts at $999, while the 13-inch model starts at $1,299. Both tablets come in either silver or space black.

Buy from: Apple


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